Yahoo’s New Home Page, Features & Screenshots
Yahoo, fresh off the integration of Yahoo Answers into its search results, has now launched a live preview of the new Yahoo.com at yahoo.com/preview. For those of you who did not just click over to preview Yahoo’s new home page, here are my first thoughts on the redesign (to additions guided by the New Yahoo Tour).
1. SEARCH SMARTER : Prevalent Search Box with ‘integration’ of Yahoo Answers with links to Ask or Answer questions.
Yahoo Search has made it no secret that it is ‘betting the farm’ on social search with an emphasis on tagging and human driven & rated questions and answers at Yahoo Answers. In what was once thought to be a social media direction of the Flickrization of Yahoo with tags and bookmark sharing, Yahoo seems to be putting much focus on the power of its community of active registered users with the Humanization of Yahoo.
Let’s hope that tags, del.icio.us and MyWeb integration into Yahoo Search follows Answers’ suit.
2. FIND IT FASTER : Fast links to Yahoo Service Channels such as Finance, Local, Sports and Shopping are listed down the left side of the page.
Yahoo says that soon users will be able to customize the links on there own personalized Yahoo homepage with links to favorite channels, regions, and Yahoo tools.
The customization of Yahoo.com is beginning to remind me of that of MyYahoo, Google Home Page and MSN’s Live.com. The more power the user is given to control their window into the Yahoo network, the less dependency the user will have on services like MyYahoo as a start page.
Ideally, I’d like to see more customization features of Yahoo’s homepage such as :
* Customization of the default search box with the ability to switch from Web to News to Local or Answers – depending on what the user predominantly searches for.
* Ability to add lesser known search functions to the search choices, like Blog search or even Yahoo’s Local News Search.
* Addition of collapsible RSS subscription features similar to MyYahoo but with a dash of Bloglines and Google Reader thrown in.
* Updates of favorite and shared Bookmarks or relevant Answers to one’s recent searches or user profile.
* More Local customization beyond only a start map with time of day enhanced Local reviews which are also targeted to user tastes (wouldn’t it be nice to open up Yahoo.com around 11:30 am and automatically be served reviews of eateries and restaurants within walking distance from your office, then gas stations with low prices before the drive home?).
3. GET PERSONAL : Yahoo enhances the Yahoo User experience with Mail, Messenger, Radio, Weather, Local and Movies features on the home page.
Yes, I use Yahoo Mail and have for almost 10 years now. One of the main reasons I use MyYahoo as a start page, beyond Sports scores, Finance Reports and Currency Exchange Rates is to preview my Yahoo Mail.
When you browse over the mail button, the button expands to show your Yahoo Inbox and awaiting mails. Likewise, even if you do not have Yahoo Messenger running a mouseover of the Messenger tab shows which of your buddies are currently online.
I don’t use Radio, Movies or Weather very often and Local opens to show a little map with traffic pattern info (nice). As stated before, the choice to further customize Yahoo’s home page with MyYahoo functions such as collapsible Major League scores or Stock Market updates would wean my dependency from MyYahoo over to the Yahoo.com page, which would then lead to me probably searching more within Yahoo and surfing through its other channels which are beyond the MyYahoo blinders which are tunneling my vision into only three or four Yahoo services.
Yahoo also offers the option of switching to a more narrow layout for those who like white space or are accessing via a smaller monitor, color changes are also an option.
The rest of the page is sleek and simplistic with a healthy balance of search, services, personalization and advertisements. Havi Hoffman adds in agreement on the Yahoo Search Blog that the page is a reflection of Yahoo’s balance in interactive media, be it search or social:
For us at Yahoo!, it all comes back to people: We’re committed to making complex technologies like email, instant messaging, and search more powerful and easier to use for everybody; embracing the collective wisdom of crowds; and harnessing the power of people and their choices across Yahoo! and its communities.
The new home page reflects Yahoo!’s unique position at the intersection of people, media, and knowledge. It presents better access to information and the stuff of our lives, and more individual choice about the appearance of the page, thanks to Ajax, DHTML, and personalization technology. You’ll find relevant and useful tools for searching, connecting, sharing, and communicating online as well as a bigger window onto the pulse of the Web.
Last but not least I would like to revisit the last ten years of Yahoo with a summary of the visual Yahoo home page Timeline :
Yahoo circa 1994, as simple as it gets.
In 1996 Yahoo was built around a simple directory, news headlines, Add Your URL, Cool Sites, and Directory Search. Yahoo was also breaking into its Local direction with Yahoo Los Angeles launching.
1997 : Yahoo streamlines their directory, adds a more advanced search offering, stays cool, gets Yahoo Shopping started with Classifieds, and introduces My Yahoo! (very bottom of the page).
1998 is a bit more advanced with the showcased offerings of Yahoo Mail, Shopping, Personals, Chat, Yahoo Games and Yahoo Travel.
Partying like it’s 1999, Yahoo gets futuristic with the Yahoo Pager (beep beep) which works with Yahoo Chat – Yahoo Pager laid the grounds for Yahoo Messenger.
Yahoo grows up a bit in 2000 with the upgrade of Pager to Yahoo Messenger and a full featured Yahoo Shopping showcase outranking the directory.
2001 is not that different that 2002, with Yahoo Broadcast featured in the sidebar and Auctions showcased after the eBay boom.
2002 brings a facelift to Yahoo with a cleaner tab oriented site with enhanced personalization.
In 2003 Yahoo brings Yahoo Autos to the front and center along with Yahoo movies and Yahoo Business Services.
Yahoo 2004 shows a bit more detail with its listings and the addition of more product and advertiser images to its home page.
Yahoo 2005 shows a redux in clutter with a fallback similar to their 2002 design.
Google’s influence on Yahoo is more evident in 2006 with the tabbed search box taking preference over the old drop down tool.